May Reading Wrap Up

Hey y’all! Sorry about my blog hiatus, but summer is here and I am ready to kick off my blog with a bang! Also, there won’t be a movie wrap up this month as all I did was re-watch about 3 movies. So, without further ado, here are the 7 books I read in May:

1. On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher: 5/5 Stars

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This book, man. It made me want to write. In fact, this was the book I wish I wrote. It wasn’t even a story about writing, but its beautiful prose and the way it wove themes into the plot and characters; it just hit me with some inspiration.

Let me give a synopsis; basically, 2 stories are told: that of a young Evie falling in love and trying to escape her mother’s tyranny, and that of an afterlife Evie who must unburden her soul by letting go of her secrets of this young life she has carried and hid her whole life. Oh, and there’s magical realism and stuff 😛

This book isn’t without flaws. It is sickeningly sweet at times, and the magical realism was hit-or-miss. But it made such an impact on me and my creativity that I can’t seem to view it as anything but perfect. I would recommend this to people who don’t mind an out-of-the-box story.

2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: 4/5 Stars

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This is one of the only books I believe that everyone should read. At least, everyone who is in a privileged place. This is the story of Starr, who is the only witness to the shooting of her unarmed black best friend by a white cop. She must grapple with grief and also make the choice to risk her safety to stand up for justice for her best friend.

Keep in mind that this is a review by a privileged white person, and try to seek out the opinions of black folk on this book. But man, did this book hit me hard. First of all, Starr lived in the “hood” As someone who grew up in safe suburbs but still saw and heard of some bad neighborhoods in Chicago, it was an experience to read about Starr’s life in these bad neighborhoods. She is no stranger to the sound of gunshots, she is friends with dealers, and her dad still has ties to gangs. It was reading about gangs that impacted me a lot. We often forget that “gang-bangers” are actual people, too, and that it is hard to stay neutral in these war zones. I’m not sure how to describe it, but basically reading about the experience of a character who is actually familiar in a bad neighborhood really impacted me. I got a perspective I hadn’t heard before. And the thing is, Starr is still happy. This is her home, these people her family.

Now, let’s talk about the message of police brutality in this book. Wow. What really hit me was the message that even though Khalil may have been a “thug” to people who didn’t know him, that he was overall a good person who did not deserve to be shot. We learn about him as a person, not just what he was doing at the time of the shooting. And the courage Starr had to have to speak up about the incident was incredible. I can’t seem to put into words the impact this book’s message had on me.

Honestly, I can’t recommend this book enough. I beg each of you to read this book, as I promise you will relate and/or gain new perspective.

3. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas: 4/5 Stars

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Man, if I wasn’t in love with the Throne of Glass world before, I am head over heels now! If you aren’t familiar with Throne of Glass (Crown of Midnight is the sequel so no series spoilers here!), it is the story of an imprisoned assassin who gets the chance to win her freedom by working for the tyrannical king.

This was such a great sequel that was perhaps more interesting than the first book. It seemed like the stakes were higher and the premise more intriguing. The ending was so emotional. I will say, however, that the pacing was all over the place. It dragged on in the middle to the point of my frustration. Nonetheless, a must-read for those already in love with the Throne of Glass world.

4. Girls Like Us by Gail Giles: 3/5 Stars

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This book got me confused. It was a wonderful story of special ed graduates who must live and work on their own for the first time. It was emotional, and it opened me up to people with different lives from me. However, I got this weird feeling while reading that I can’t really describe. Perhaps the story was just striking up emotion for me, but it was almost like the execution of the story made me uncomfortable. I’m sorry if this review made no sense- basically, read it to see the different perspective of disabled youth.

5. I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil: 2/5 Stars

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This is the story of an outcast girl who discovers the formula to being popular in high school: to take on a manic pixie dream girl persona. So, this book irritated me. I did love the social commentary on the idea of girls having to be this magical manic pixie dream girl, however my qualms with the book overshadowed this. It was as if the author had never stepped foot in a real high school. The book was full of typical cliches about popularity, and it introduced nothing new. I really wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone beyond reading the title and thinking, “Huh, that’s an interesting idea.”

6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling: 5/5 Stars

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If you read my last blog post, you’ll know that I am reading the Harry Potter series for the first time this summer! And wow, I am in love already. I am in awe of the world that J.K. Rowling has created. This book was so sweet and magical and… cozy. I don’t know how to review this, but if you also haven’t read the series, here is your push to go ahead and do it!

7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

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This one was far superior to its prequel. The stakes were higher, and the mysteries more intriguing. (Hey, this is sounding like my Crown of Midnight review!) I can’t wait to see where the series goes!

So there you have it! Let me know if you have read any of these books/series, and what you thought of them!

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